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Cop Lalita breaks sex change stigma

Lalita Salve, a woman constable from Beed can finally heave a sigh of relief after receiving the nod to undergo sex reassignment surgery. She had urged the police department to offer a month’s leave for undergoing surgery but her application was rejected. The constable then filed a petition with the Bombay High Court seeking direction to the Maharashtra’s Director General of Police to grant her leave to undergo a surgery for sex change. Later Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened in this matter and appealed to Director General of Police to allow Lalita to continue with her service as a male constable after the surgery. He urged them to take this matter seriously and remain sensitive towards the constable’s cause. Many other constables too are willing to undergo sex change surgery but they lacked courage to go forward with the operation. Sex change surgery continues to be a taboo topic and people feel uncomfortable to discuss about it. However, after Lalita Salve received nod for undergoing surgery many others too will take initiative to come forward and go for surgery.

As per the petition, Salve, born in June 1988, noticed changes in her body three years ago and underwent medical tests wherein it was found that the presence of Y chromosome was more.

Salve’s lawyer Ejaz Naqvi presented the petition before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, who said the plea would have to be heard by the appropriate bench. Salve had joined the police department in the year 2009.

Suchitra Shah Bhide, Counselling Psychologist said, “This is an interesting story which we are hearing. Women have to undergo various hardships in life just because they belong to fairer sex. Some of them undergo hormonal changes and hence, they feel like becoming a man. We have female and male hormones. They also experience difficulties during menstruation. Man can do several things in the world which a woman is not expected to perform. If a woman starts thinking like this then she might think about becoming a man.”

Dr Gaurav Kulkarni, MD Psychiatrist said, “There is nothing wrong in people going for changing their gender. Earlier a person used to be considered as having psychological problem if they think about going for sex change surgery. Even if a person is a male by birth he thinks that he is possessing characteristics of opposite sex. The person feels that if he continues to remain a male then he might face some difficulties in life. If such person changes his gender then there is nothing wrong in it and there are no side effects.”

Harish Iyer, gender rights activist said, “According to me all our physical activities are done by the body and not by our gender. Transgender is a medical term and if a person undergoes surgery, he/she will become completely healthy and fine after the operation. The surgery is scientifically proven. People should not be worried about a person’s gender and they should only focus on the work done by him or her.”

A police inspector spoke to AV on the condition of anonymity and said, “The practice of undergoing sex change surgery is a western culture and gradually Indian society is also accepting it. People get influenced after watching movies and they take this step. It’s wrong to change your own gender like Lalita Salve. She is employed with the Police department and this is indeed a threatening example for our society and it should not happen. Excess following and acceptance of western culture is undoubtedly hazardous for our society. I believe the reason behind people who go for such surgeries is that they must have faced some sexual abuse in their childhood. Now adapting the opposite gender they want to take revenge of those wrongdoings.

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